Weekly Thought – November 13, 2018
Fred could squeeze more ideas out of random situations than a dozen others. He saw principles and illustrations everywhere. This characteristic made him a most interesting conversationalist – and also a bit off center! He loved analyzing life – and we all benefit from his observations.
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Iron and Clay
I was always interested in the reasons people connected – or didn’t. It intrigued me to see which ones had “chemistry,” while others lacked an affinity. For example, I have friends who bond through common interests, even common enemies. There are linkages which look to many as hypocritical and political. I have Christian friends who assure me they can identify other Christians in just casual encounters. This ability to be in sync is often felt in the reverse.
For example, have you ever met someone and felt an immediate irritability? Maybe even wanted to call them by a name other than their own? I realized long ago we can associate others with acquaintances (or family members) who bring negative or positive reactions. I knew a female executive who told me her immediate superior seemed to have an instant dislike for her. When she dug a bit, she reminded him of his ex-wife. “Wearing another’s face” can create warm or cold feelings.
The one that interests me quite a bit is the concept of iron and clay. We all have both elements. Some of us are allergic to clay while others are magnetized by the iron. Some of us are put off by the iron and handle the clay with poise.
I know I am drawn to iron. Some of my friends say, “Smith, you have some of the strangest friends!” Until I started looking at it I was surprised. Then as I took a good look I saw what they meant. For example, one man who a leading contractor in Canada would come into our home and immediately reset the thermostat (without asking permission). I finally asked him why he did this. “You want it right, don’t you?” What was I to say? I didn’t want it wrong, did I? I just put up with his idiosyncrasies and reset it when he left. I saw the iron in the man, not the clay.
One of my relatives never appreciated the collection of friends I accumulated. Finally, one day I simply said, “You have a negative magnetism to iron in personalities. You are able to deal with their clay. I overlook the clay because the iron is where I see their giftedness and their contribution.”
Occasionally, you will run into somebody who seems to be 100% one or the other. When you do, it is imperative you make a studied decision and not just react emotionally to them. Spiritual maturity is also at play in these interactions. We learn to rub the rough edges off as we grow and also learn to appreciate the strengths (and forgive the weaknesses) of each other.
This week think about: 1) What characteristics attract me to others? 2) What personality traits trigger my allergic reactions? 3) How can I better understand my friendships?
Words of Wisdom: “We learn to rub the rough edges off as we grow and also learn to appreciate the strengths (and forgive the weaknesses) of each other.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Indeed, if you call out for discernment – raise your voice for understanding.” (Proverbs 2:3 NET Bible)